Top positive review
Begins one of the great Thor run in an awesome painted hardcover
Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2015
Amazon appears to be linking the reviews for two separate products here: "Thor: God of Thunder, Oversized HC, Vol1" and "Thor: God of Thunder, Prem HC Vol1 The God Butcher". I have both and tried to review both, but I only appear to be able to attach one review (even though they have separate listings. weird).
The first collects Thor 1-11 in an oversized volume with dust jacket showing Thor battling the necroblade berserkers underneath is a painted cover with the same image as the painted cover for the Prem HC. The Prem HC collects Thor 1-5 in a standard sized volume. I tried to purchase the OHC but ended up with the Prem HC through Amazon. I ended up ordering the OHC elsewhere to avoid this listing confusion.
I review the Prem HC first and then the OHC follows.
This volume collects Thor, God of Thunder 1-5 and has a digital copy code. Extras include 11 pages of variant covers and a Ribic Sketchbook with 5 pages of character and cover sketches as well as 8 pages of pencils. These pencils are slightly pixelized in the effect surrounding Gorr, but much less noticeably than the oversized HC version of the pages. The rest of the art extras are excellent reproductions. If you haven't tried the digital copy, the presentation is great, panel-by-panel focus with zoom capabilities. It's a great way to take reading material with you on the road.
The painted Ribic cover is gorgeous. Note that Thor: God of Thunder Vol 1 Oversized Hardcover collects the God Butcher and the God Bomb Premium Hardcovers, but does not have the digital copy code that the premiums do. I'd like to see Marvel offer the digital copy with their OHC and Masterworks titles as well. Axis and AvX had digital copies and are oversized.
Anyhow, back to the content of this collection: Esad Ribic and Jason Aaron have produced one of the great Thor runs. No, I'm not suggesting that their run is the equal of Kirby-Lee or Simonson, and Ribic's output cannot match the volume of John Buscema, but their issues are definitely epic and potent.
From the start, the viking heritage comes through. This Thor is rough and rugged. There is intense violence but it never feels gratuitous. The writing is economical and poetic at the same time, never feeling labored, never competing with the gorgeous artwork. There's almost a murder mystery air to it, similar, in a way, to the beginning of 13th Warrior where the gruesome deaths can't be explained and sheer terror sets into even the mightiest warrior's heart.
I hope that after the cinema run for Thor, that Netflix or another cable network can do a high-end series on Thor: the God Butcher.
Issue 6 is a fill-in issue by Butch Guice. It's quite a departure from Ribic and is not a painted style, but I liked it for this flashback story, revealing Gorr's origin. This origin really gives Gorr more depth. The origin of his weapon/powers also gets revealed in this issue.
With issue 7, Esad Ribic is back in action up to the conclusion of the God Bomb in #11. We're introduced to Shadrak, a very entertaining jester character slightly reminiscent of Shlagen from Omega Men #4 (the guy who lets Lobo in).
We also get to meet Atli, Ellisiv, and Frigg Wodendottir for the first time.
There are a couple of battles that end up being resolved off-panel and I would've liked the notion that the blade absorbed god essence as Gorr killed each deity. In that way, his power levels would've made more sense.
The art is gorgeous and the writing is the most potent Thor has been in a while.
Hopefully, Amazon will correct the links to make these two separate collections.